Corey Crawford, Blackhawks Handle Canucks In OT

In his finest performance since facing the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Corey Crawford stood strong throughout a physical hockey game and earned a hard-fought overtime victory.

In a game filled with the bad blood that has become part of the Blackhawks-Canucks rivalry, the two teams racked up 54 penalty minutes in the first two periods.

For Chicago, Marcus Kruger did not return to the game after the first period; he was part of a nasty collision into the Canucks’ net late in the first period. The Canucks were without Daniel Sedin after he received an elbow from Duncan Keith. Keith and Alex Burrows were both hit with 14 penalty minutes in the middle of the second period, taking two more key players off the ice for a significant amount of time.

Brent Seabrook may have been as visibly emotional on the ice as he’s ever been with the Blackhawks while continuing to defend teammates from late/cheap shots from the Canucks. At one point in the second period, he threw his own helmet in frustration while “discussing things” with a couple of Canucks.

To Seabrook’s credit, in spite of the abuse he took in the game, he did not personally take any penalties in the game. Indeed, after the Blackhawks were called for three penalties in the first period, the only Keith’s subsequent penalties in the second period were called on Chicago.

On the other end of the ice, the Canucks continued to take cheap shots and they found themselves in the box throughout the second period. Henrik Sedin took two minor penalties inside of three minutes and Kevin Bieksa served two minutes for slashing.

While the Blackhawks power play continued to frustrate, the penalty killing in Chicago has become red-hot. The Hawks haven’t allowed a power play goal in seven games, killing all 11 penalties over that stretch. In March, the Hawks have successfully killed 17 of 18 penalties.

When Johnny Oduya’s wide shot bounced off Andrew Shaw and into the back of the net for an incredible overtime game-winner, it was Crawford that had truly earned the victory.

After allowing a soft goal less than 30 seconds into the game, Crawford stood on his head for the next 62 minutes. He made 23 saves in the game, but was hit at least three times (including one interference call) and had constant traffic in the crease. The Blackhawks also struggled with their clearing attempts on all three penalty kills in the first period, but Crawford refused to allow a second goal.

Since replacing Ray Emery against St. Louis, Crawford has allowed five goals in four-plus games. He has kept 84 of 89 shots out of the net in the last four games (.944 save percentage) and has shown confidence in the last week that was nowhere to be found as little as three weeks ago. His return to form has been exceptional.

Patrick Kane scored his 20th goal of the season for the Hawks’ only regulation tally. Shaw’s game-winner was his fourth goal in the last three games and his fifth of the month, giving him 11 on the season. Shaw now has a four-game point streak.

When the dust settled, the Blackhawks had won their fifth straight game. With 92 points in 75 games, the Hawks have as many points as the Nashville Predators (who have two games in-hand) and one fewer than the Detroit Red Wings, who lost in overtime to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night but have one game in-hand.

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7 Responses to Corey Crawford, Blackhawks Handle Canucks In OT

  1. Travis says:

    What a game!!! What a gutsy win. Skill is our strength, but the fact that we can pull out these low-scoring, tight-checking, physical contests makes us a contender. We can blow you out, but we can smother you too.

    We beat a quality team without the services of THREE of our centermen. THREE.

    Again, our physical presence is lacking (but better). Our puck-possession D-men are small, so our bigger forwards need to start hitting more people. If Bickell, Stalberg, (and maybe even Hoss) started hitting more people in the neutral zone, it would be a lot harder for opposing teams to exploit our smaller D-men.

    Oh, and a PP plz!!!

  2. tysimmo says:

    “and [Crawford] has shown confidence in the last week that was nowhere to be found as little as three weeks ago”

    Okay, so other than the quick hook Q had for him in LA and Toronto, Crawford has been great the past 7 weeks. I guess I can’t fault Q for pulling him in those two games, but he was on a roll before them and should have been given the net back way before the St. Louis game. Including those two games (LA and TOR), Crawford has a .927 save% and 1.67 GAA with a 9-2 record in 20 games since his Feb. 16 win over NY. He’s allowed over 3 goals only once in that span (LA, and 2 of the 4 tallies were when the ‘hawks were short-handed). Can we please put the goalie discussion to rest? Crawford is the man to ride into the playoffs, we will go as far as he takes us.

  3. tysimmo says:

    Sorry, his GAA is 1.89 over the last 12 games. Miscalculation there and accidentally typed the number of goals allowed (20) instead of games (12) there as well.

  4. Andrew says:

    This has been the most satisfying game I have seen in a long time. The Canucks are a dirty team so I for one am glad Keith did what he did, although he could have waited til he had the puck at least. hoping he doesn’t get a suspension…

  5. Glenn says:

    Keith deserves a game or two. Even though Sedin deserved to be paid back for his shot to Keith’s head, and even though it’s Vancouver who, as a team, has targeted Hawk stars in the past, it can’t be a blatant elbow to the chops. Keith has to have better control of himself than that.

    Another thing that is suspension worthy but not getting much publicity is the cheapshot knee to the groin that Burrows delivered to Keith as he lay on top of him. If Skinner gets 2 games for kicking at a player – Burrows, with his history of cheapshot dirty play should get a couple games as well.

    But at the end of the day, the Hawks had the 2 points and Vancouver fans are whining … all is well.

  6. Brad Stevenson says:

    Andrew Shaw is a hockey player, and is going to have a long, successful career in Chicago…and that is good news, because you win championships with high compete, character guys like Shaw and Kruger…

    Kudos to Stan Bowman for doing an EXCELLENT job drafting for this hockey team. Add to that, Brandon Saad looks like the best hockey player in juniors, and we have a future…

  7. shamrock says:

    This game was exactly why John Scott never should have been traded. I cant be the only one that would have loved to see Scott pounding the crap out of Burrows, Kassian, and Bieksa.

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